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Pennsylvania Physicians Back Establishment of Safe Injection Facility

November 25, 2019

The largest trade association of physicians in Pennsylvania has endorsed the opening of pilot programs that would test the concept of safe injection sites as a public health response to the opioid crisis. Plans to launch what would be the country's first supervised injection facility in Philadelphia have been stalled by a legal challenge, with the nonprofit that is hoping to open a facility prevailing in a recent court decision.

“These sites are well studied and successful across the globe but have been delayed by American politics while our patients die every day,” Dane Scantling, DO, MPH, said in a news release from the Pennsylvania Medical Society, which last month backed the concept of safe injection sites at its House of Delegates meeting. Scantling represents the Philadelphia County Medical Society.

According to the state medical society, an analysis from Thomas Jefferson University and Main Line Health System concluded that a safe injection site in Philadelphia could save 24 to 72 lives a year and $74 million in health care costs. Studies of such programs in other countries have concluded that they can result in reduced overdose rates and infectious disease transmission.

“We owe it to those suffering from the disease of addiction to carefully examine proposals that may reduce harm and buy time for them to get into treatment,” said Lawrence John, MD, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

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